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Media Projects: Development Grants

Division of Public Programs

Receipt Deadline January 14, 2015 for Projects Beginning August 2015

Brief Summary

NEH’s Division of Public Programs supports activities that engage millions of Americans in understanding significant humanities works and ideas. At the center of every NEH-funded public humanities project is a core set of humanities ideas developed by scholars, matched to imaginative formats that bring those ideas to life for people of all ages and all walks of life. Projects must be analytical and deeply grounded in humanities scholarship in a discipline such as history, religion, anthropology, jurisprudence, or art history. NEH is a national funding agency, so the projects we support must demonstrate the potential to attract a broad, general audience. We welcome humanities projects tailored to particular groups, such as families, youth (including K-12 students), teachers, seniors, at-risk communities, and veterans, but they should also strive to cultivate a more inclusive audience.

Media Projects grants support the following formats:

  • film and television projects; and
  • radio projects.

Film and television projects may be single programs or a series addressing significant figures, events, or ideas. Programs must be intended for national distribution. The Division of Public Programs welcomes projects ranging in length from short-form to broadcast-length video.

Radio projects may involve single programs, limited series, or segments within an ongoing program. They may also develop new humanities content to augment existing radio programming or add greater historical background or humanities analysis to the subjects of existing programs. They may be intended for regional or national distribution.

NEH encourages projects that engage public audiences through multiple formats in the exploration of humanities ideas. Proposed projects might include complementary components to a film, television, or radio project. These components should deepen the audience’s understanding of the subject in a supplementary manner: for example, book/film discussion programs, websites, mobile applications, museum exhibitions, or podcasts.

Projects for online distribution

Media Projects development grants do not support film, television, or radio projects that are disseminated exclusively online If you seek to develop an online-only film, television, or radio project (or a digital project that is independent of a film, television, or radio program), you should apply to the Digital Projects for the Public grant program. Please contact a Division of Public Programs program officer if you have questions about which grant program best fits your project.

To be competitive, applicants must have a solid command of the major humanities scholarship on their subject, have clarified the ideas that the project will consider, and have consulted with a team of scholarly advisers to work out the intellectual issues that the program will explore. The team of scholars must represent major fields relevant to the subject matter and offer diverse perspectives and approaches. As needed, the project team may also include other participants with experience and knowledge appropriate to the project’s formats or technical requirements.

Development grants enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare programs for production. Grants should result in a script and should also yield a detailed plan for outreach and public engagement in collaboration with a partner organization or organizations.

Program Statistics

In the last five competitions the Media Projects: Development Grants program received an average of 39 applications. The program made an average of three grants per competition, for a funding ratio of 8 percent.

The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely from competition to competition, as can the funding ratio. Information about the average number of applications and awards in recent competitions is meant only to provide historical context for the current competition. Information on the number of applications and awards in individual competitions is available from publicpgms@neh.gov.

Questions?

Contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Public Programs at 202-606-8269 or publicpgms@neh.gov. Hearing-impaired applicants can contact NEH via TDD at 1-866-372-2930.